FranklinCovey Blog | August, 2012
FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition, the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a guest post from Winfield Jackson, a team member at OpenSesame.
This summer I have felt a lot like a beginning gymnast on the balance beam. One moment struggling, one moment soaring like Gabby Douglas in London. I’m at a difficult age, between childhood and adulthood, and working hard to create a grown-up, adult life. As I struggle with my budding professional career, I’ve discovered why one cliche is true: We get caught up in the day-to-day motions of our busy, hectic lives and don’t take the time to recharge our batteries.
Reading Dr. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has opened my eyes to one principle I have not respected enough in my life: Sharpen the Saw. For me, sharpening the saw means keeping myself refreshed, so that I have the energy and capacity to thoughtfully exercise the other six habits.
As I’ve read The 7 habits and challenged myself to examine my own behavior, I find that I use routine answers and routine behaviors to absolve myself of the responsibility to examine myself and my approach to life and work. Sharpening the Saw doesn’t mean just being thoughtful about the work you do – it means taking the time to take care of yourself – and your own productive capacity – so that you can have sustainable, productive success.
From skills development and training to family time and vacation, Sharpening the Saw can have a different focus for everyone, but the core meaning is the same: You must respect yourself in order to make the most of your abilities.
Dr. Covey discusses the four components of everyone’s productive capacity: body, mind, spirit and heart. Three of these four components made immediate sense to me: body, mind, and spirit. However, heart stood out as a component that I needed to understand a little better. I’m great at taking the time I need to rest, recover and recreate – but I’m not so good at developing meaningful and high quality relationships. Relationships should be symbiotic. You should receive enjoyment, stimulus, and interaction in return for your time and vice versa. Looking at it through that viewpoint, the heart aspect really spoke to me as something lacking in my relationships with family and friends.
For me, as I enter my junior year in college, I have an important resolution: Take the time to develop and nurture my relationships with friends and loved ones. I realize that I must give as much as I hope to receive in order to continue to grow as a productive adult.
Life is, after all, about balance. Habit 7 really stresses this. Whether it is physical activity or hanging out with a good friend, finding ways to balance yourself with strong foundations in mind, body, heart and spirit will help you find your way on the balance beam.
Winfield Jackson is a Junior at Oklahoma State University where he studies Entrepreneurship. He works as a content developer for OpenSesame, elearning marketplace.
FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition, the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a guest post from Alexis Phillips, a team member at OpenSesame.
Each week, my OpenSesame colleagues and I read and discuss a chapter of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. As the youngest content development intern at OpenSesame, I had a hard time relating to the various habits in the book- until I read Habit 6: Synergize.
A lot of people, myself included, think that they can do everything on their own; that they don’t need anyone else’s opinions, thoughts, ideas, or input. The selfish philosophies of “my way is the only way” and “it’s my way or the highway” are ones of confusion and destruction. When people decide that they alone know what’s best at all times, they not only leave little room for improvement, they also push others out of their life.
In moving through defensive to respectful and then synergistic communication, people experience change in their wisdom and power. Covey explains how defensive behavior- a result of low cooperation and trust, is not effective behavior as it only creates a win/lose or lose/win situation. Although respectful behavior leads to compromise, the cooperation and trust is still not high enough to be very effective. Synergy, as explained by Covey, is the idea that “two heads are better than one”. It embodies high levels of trust and cooperation and results in a win/win situation.
I am an active member of Franklin High School’s Mock Trial and Parliamentary Debate Team. In the beginning, I was quite controlling over how my team and I prepared for our competition. I had a constant “ME” attitude and always reasoned my selfishness with the philosophy, “If I don’t do it, it won’t be done right”. However, as time went on my synergistic behavior increased. During the fall demonstration, the opposing team objected to all of the questions I asked. Since I did not respond effectively, my team lost major points in our presentation and preparedness category. I soon realized that had I asked the judge for a moment and called on my team for help, we would have scored points for teamwork and maybe even won the objection, even in our difficult situation. Luckily, the competition had various rounds against different high school teams and we had the chance to redeem ourselves. The second time around, we put our heads together and ended up winning the round, which allowed us to advance to a higher rank in the competition!
In my life, I now understand why it is important to question the reasons behind my decisions or actions to better navigate the greater, more beneficial outcome. Often I find myself feeling anxious thinking about the many tasks I must complete throughout the day. When I ask my family and friends for advice or for help, I discover new and better ways to finish everything that needs to get done in a timely manner. It’s as if speaking to others and combining our two, three, four, or five heads allows us to discuss all of the possibilities from our different perspectives. This helps me determine the best way to execute the tasks.
In retrospect, my growth as an individual improved as I converted my untrusting and uncooperative behaviors to trusting and cooperative behaviors and actions. I appreciate the fact that I can discuss my future plans with my family and friends. If I couldn’t and I had no one to compare insights with, my head would probably explode with frustration, confusion and distraught. I’ve come to realize that when I work with a team, the finished product is far more abundant than what I could have ever done on my own. The team has the ability to bounce ideas off of each other and brainstorm multiple concepts. In addition, the team has the opportunity to accomplish maximum capabilities.
Alexis Phillips is a content developer at OpenSesame, the world’s leading marketplace for eLearning.
FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition, the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a guest post from James Lavery, a Content Development Specialist at OpenSesame.
The 5th Habit of Highly Effective People struck home for me because it is something that my mother has taught me from a young age… but not something I’ve always been great at executing.
I come from a family of highly opinionated people. In most situations, everyone takes their own opinion as absolute truth and has no interest in the opinions of others. To this day, I often find myself wracking my brain provide an answer to a question or problem that the person I’m speaking to hasn’t yet fully articulated. I have a desire to interject with my advice, my corrections, my opinions.
A few months ago on one of my first days working at OpenSesame, I answered my first office call. I was so excited to finally speak with a potential seller that when they answered the phone I almost forgot to introduce myself. Rather than ask them if they had any questions about OpenSesame or how we work, I immediately went right into who we are, our goals, and our mission statement – with gusto. I was almost 5 minutes into the call before I found out that this person was not a possible partner for us.
As Dr. Covey writes in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Communication is the most important skill in life.” We speak or otherwise relay our message, take in what other people have to say, and formulate a response. Dr. Covey posits, however, that “most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” As Dr. Covey describes, sometimes we are so focused on getting our message across that we completely forget that the person we are attempting to communicate with is speaking from their own frame of reference.
My first sales call with OpenSesame could have benefited from a knowledge of empathetic listening (alas, our office had only read through Habit 2 by that point). In that moment I needed to be discerning and aware. I needed to hear and understand the client’s needs and concerns. I needed to hear that a potential business relationship had little chance of succeeding. Our business development manager always tells us in training that it is good to get the client talking about what they do and what they offer first. After reading about this habit I now see how correct he is. Allowing people to talk about themselves makes them comfortable communicating with you. It gives you accurate information to work with, and it builds what Dr. Covey would call the “emotional bank account” between the two of you.
Fortunately, although my first call was not perfect, I quickly learned that the most important skill in communication was listening first. Now I start off every call by introducing myself, and then asking the person on the phone who they are and what they know about OpenSesame rather than tell them about OpenSesame.
James Lavery is a student at Whitman College and a Content Development Specialist at OpenSesame, the world’s largest eLearning marketplace.
FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition, the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a post from Sarah Eadie, a content creation and online marketing specialist OpenSesame about her experience reading the book.
It is hard to practice Win-Win behavior when you feel like you’re living in scarcity. When I dropped out of college to take a gap year, it was hard to think of anyone but myself. Each day I sat in various coffee shops frantically typing out cover letters to jobs I wouldn’t get, and each night I’d find temporary solace on a friend’s couch.
My friend was a recent graduate of the same college I had left. She had staggering amounts of debt and was also unemployed – a tremendously stressful situation. In the evenings, we’d sit together at her kitchen table drinking instant coffee and complaining. “I can’t believe they won’t hire me! This economy is awful!” We were caught up in our Lose/Win situation, the victims of circumstances beyond our control. Or so I thought…
Things really started to change after my first job interview. When I got the email in my inbox scheduling an interview with a local company for an administrative assistant position, I was ecstatic. That night at my friend’s table, we discussed the ways in which the position would change my current situation – putting me in contact with powerful people, bolstering my resume, acting as a springboard for other opportunities.
These dreams of a steady income played on repeat in my brain as I sat across from my interviewer the next day. When she asked me why I wanted the position, I rattled off my desires with aplomb: “Working for your company is a great opportunity for me to build some business connections while developing some new business skills. Of course, that steady paycheck is a big plus, as well as the flexible hours.” My interviewer waited patiently while I finished rambling, and then followed up by asking, “What do you have to offer us?” I was rendered speechless, stuttering to come up with an answer. What did I have to offer them? I was the one in desperate need of work!
It was in that moment that I realized, in the most painfully embarrassing way possible, I had been going about the interview process in a way that emphasized my personal win, and minimized that of the company. I knew that, moving forward, the only way to be truly effective in my job search was to think Win/Win. I needed to prove my value to them before I would be able to reap the benefits of gainful employment.
Needless to say, I didn’t get a call back. However, for my next interview, I did my research. I took a close look at the company – their job posting, their website, their company blog – and came up with a list of things I knew I could do to improve their current strategies from day one. I was confident this interview would be different from my last one. I walked in, sat down, and began a discussion about my abilities and how they would provide value to the company.
While I didn’t realize it then, I was implementing Dr. Stephen Covey’s 4th Habit of The 7 Habits Highly Effective People. I wasn’t being a doormat – the company was agreeing to pay me a reasonable wage and provide me with valuable business experience. But, at the same time, I wasn’t focused solely on myself. I was thinking about how we could both benefit from a business relationship. I was thinking Win/Win.
By the end of the interview, my future boss was ecstatic. I had articulated potential solutions to problems she knew existed, and ones she didn’t knew she had. She called me the next week to offer me the job. Thinking Win/Win helped me shift my personal paradigm to one of abundance, and start my career in an economy of scarcity.
Sarah Eadie is a content creation and online marketing specialist at OpenSesame, the world’s elearning marketplace. She studies Chinese language and literature at Portland State University.
Focus is a natural principle. The sun’s scattered rays are too weak to start a fire, but once you focus them with a magnifying glass they will bring paper to flame in seconds. The same is true of human beings—once their collective energy is focused on a challenge, t here is little they can’t accomplish
Since its introduction in the spring of 2012, The 4 Disciplines of Execution has garnered critical acclaim from business leaders around the globe. This book is full of memorable gems and real business insight that can help any company achieve superb results—regardless of the goal.
FranklinCovey is happy to announce that 4DX, a #1 National Bestseller, is now available to you for a limited time at 45% OFF the retail value when purchased from 800ceoread.com.
Simply use the following promotional code at checkout: 4DIS2012.
It will only take you the first few pages of reading 4DX to realize you have come across something capable of profoundly changing the way you set out to manage your busy schedule every single day. “Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important” teaches us that trying to push too many goals at once will usually result in a mediocre job on all of them. As you approach your seemingly never-ending list of things to do, 4DX teaches that you can still maintain all of your goals as important, but right now, you have only one or two wildly important goals that are owed your finest diligence and efforts. In 4DX, this is called managing the whirlwind of your day-to-day job.
Many people who have read 4DX have come to the same conclusion: Before they learned to manage the whirlwind, their minds were like a giant cloud with a lot of great ideas and worthy goals, but no real structure. Now, after implementing the book’s teachings, their minds operate like a clean flow chart with strategic intent and clearly defined finish lines—and all that is from just one Discipline!
We strongly suggest that you take the time to read the free chapter available online while you are waiting for your discounted copy of The 4 Disciplines of Execution to arrive. In addition to introducing you to The 4 Disciplines, the book also gives you a structured, comprehensive approach to installing 4DX in your team and organization.
Happy reading and good luck!
From the multimillion-copy best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People—hailed as the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century—The 3rd Alternative introduces a breakthrough approach to resolving conflict and creative problem solving. Dr. Stephen R. Covey brings his formidable insights to our toughest personal, organizational, and social challenges.
World-class training for The 3rd Alternative is exclusively available through FranklinCovey LiveClicks webinar workshops. Available as open-enrollment workshops or as exclusive training for teams and organizations, you will be taught live by a certified instructor who will help you truly learn how to live the 3rd Alternative. Our client certification option allows you to bring The 3rd Alternative content to your organization by becoming certified to teach through the FranklinCovey LiveClicks platform. The 3rd Alternative webinar workshops series includes five webinars that can be taken as a series, or you can find the session that best fits your needs. Titles include:
In this webinar, you will learn to:
- Defuse conflict almost instantly.
- Strengthen relationships—even when threatened by deep differences.
- Discover four paradigms that lead to win-win results in any conflict situation.
In this webinar, you will learn to:
- Practice four steps for making robust decisions.
- Capitalize on divergent thinking to reduce uncertainty.
- Use empathy as the unexpected key to decision making.
In this webinar, you will learn to:
- Apply the revolutionary discipline and creative power of 3rd Alternative teams.
- Find the “edge zones” –the hot spots of innovative thinking.
- Practice rapid prototyping and countertyping to leverage the rich thinking of your team.
In this webinar, you will learn to:
- Get past the “zero-sum” negotiation mindset to the “abundance” mindset that produces countless rich solutions.
- Distinguish the four steps of haggling from the four steps of synergizing for deals that delight everyone.
In this webinar, you will learn to:
- Get to deep and thorough understanding of the root as well as the symptoms of the problem.
- Discover how empathic relationship building is key to problem solving.
Life comes at us, and sometimes we just want to scream “Wait…I’m not ready.” Or, “Bring it. I’m ready.” I’m in the second mind set; bring it on, because I’m ready.
You might ask, “Ready for what?” Well, I’m actively embracing the webinar approach to teaching our great content. I’ve been teaching using webinar technology for a few years. At first, I did it reluctantly. I was so bought-up in to the ‘I must be in the room with my students’ that it was hard for me to wrap my head around how effective webinars really could be.
What a surprise when I realized that, indeed, it could be effective. So, as I’ve gotten more comfortable with the technology, more adept at understanding how my students want/need to learn, and have more confidence in my ability to deal with any betrayal that technology wants to throw my way…
Recently, I had among the most rewarding experiences ever, and even more so within a webinar. I taught a webinar version of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for Associates. The webinar is taught in three 90-minute sessions. At the middle of the second 90-minute session, one of the participants asked if she could talk with me when the day’s teach was over. At the end of the third session, she patiently waited, and when all the ‘thank you’s’ were said, she asked “Are we alone? Is the last person off the phone?” I told her I thought so, but couldn’t guarantee it. She asked if I could call her. I did just that.
She began by telling me that she did not come to this webinar very willingly. “My boss made me take it.” Well, I thought, this is going to be an interesting conversation, isn’t it? We chatted a little more, my caller telling me that by the middle of the first session she was feeling less like a hostage and more like a ‘curious George.’ At the end of the second session, she realized that this could, indeed, be transformational – if she would let it be.
It was the third session, she said, that really spoke to her. The closing video was about Leaving a Legacy, and there’s a quote: “I have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me.” She told me that the day before the webinar, her doctor called to tell her that her ovarian cancer was back and she had little time. How do you react to something like this?
She told me that she felt there was divine destiny in the entire day: her boss insisting that she go, her reluctant willingness to be open to it and the power of the material (what a legacy Dr. Covey leaves us). I truly felt this magical moment, laced with sadness, unbridled power and privileged to be a messenger.
So, webinars can indeed be as transformational as we let them be.
Author: Andrea Edwards
Andrea Edwards is a Senior Consultant and Director of Client Results for FranklinCovey’s Western Region. She is passionate about helping clients achieve their wildly important goals.
FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition, the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a post from Chase Wanamaker, an intern at OpenSesame about his experience reading the book.
To be completely honest, I have always been a bit of a skeptic about the actual results of the millions of self-help books that exist. For years I always shrugged them off, not realizing the real potential they could have in my specific circumstances. However, as I continue to read Dr. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I’m shocked by its universal relevance. I am starting to understand why so many millions of people have applied these habits to their lives.
As I look forward to starting my senior year at Gonzaga University this fall, I can’t help but reflect on my organizational habits over the past 3 years. As far back as high school, I can distinctly remember certain times when I felt completely overwhelmed with work and extracurricular activities. I felt as if I was drowning in tasks that needed to get done and could barely get a second to collect my thoughts. As a result, my performance in school and other activities were not as good as they could have been. I was unable to prioritize my schedule and manage my time properly. I was inefficient, and had trouble getting things done.
The 3rd habit of highly effective people stresses the importance of putting first things first. Dr. Covey begins the chapter by distinguishing between two very important terms: urgency and importance. Covey explains how many people (including myself) often mistake these two words when they prioritize their schedules. To fully comprehend these concepts, you need to first understand Covey’s 2nd habit. More specifically, you must define what is important to you in order to determine which tasks are worthwhile and which are not when choosing how to spend your time.
Dr. Covey provides an important four quadrant matrix which compares the ideas of urgency and importance, and how the two should impact the way you choose to spend your time. We learn that important tasks are things that must be done to complete your mission, to achieve your life goals. On the contrary, urgent tasks are those which are not necessarily important, but must be attended to because of a deadline. Covey explains that, unfortunately, many people get caught up with urgent tasks and are unable to focus on the important tasks that bring us closer to our goals.
In my own life, I often find myself caught up doing things that seem to need immediate attention but are ultimately keeping me from getting to important tasks. After reading this chapter, I now know that I need to change this. Prioritizing your schedule according to important tasks not only helps you get closer to achieving your goals but also makes you a more efficient person.
As I continue to read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I look forward to seeing how this book alone will continue to disprove my original hypothesis on self-help books. The universal applicability of these habits have already proven to be immensely useful in my own personal life. I have already noticed improvements in efficiency in many aspects of my life varying from my internship, school, and even coordinating things with my friends and family. As I continue to read through this book, I look forward to more of the immediate results the application of these helpful habits have already brought to my life.
FranklinCovey recently added their courses to OpenSesame, global elearning marketplace, where Chase Wanamaker is a business development intern. He is going to be a senior or Gonzaga University where he studies Business and is double-concentrating in Finance and Marketing.